Water Quality Standards Communications

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Washington, DC, United States 🇺🇸


A research opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water in Washington, DC. This appointment will be served with the Office of Science and Technology (OST) in the Standards and Health Protection Division.

The research participant will have the opportunity to work directly with the Deputy Division Director to gain hands on experience through the development of strategic and scientific communication materials relevant to the Standards and Health Protection Division. The Standards and Health Protection Division directs the national water programs for water quality standards and advisories for safe fishing and swimming. Policy and communications experience will range from supporting, by researching the information for, the day-to-day communication needs of Agency public affairs staff and senior leadership to developing marketing strategies and outreach materials for stakeholders and the public.

The participant will learn about the role of water quality standards in achieving the goals of the Clean Water Act, and the relationship between standards and related core Clean Water Act program such as the NPDES permit program and the Section 303(d) listing and TMDL programs. In addition, the participant will gain familiarity with relevant EPA regulations and guidance documents. This opportunity will provide excellent exposure to: (1) a broad range of water pollution control technical and policy issues; (2) the process of applying technical data and information to policy development; (3) interpretation of statutory and regulatory language and its application to state specific water quality standards proposals and submissions; and (4) synthesizing technical and policy information for presentation to EPA senior managers and appropriate stakeholder groups, including honing the skill of communicating complex scientific or technical information to a nontechnical audience.

This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. The initial appointment is for seven months, but may be renewed upon recommendation of EPA and is contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. The appointment is full-time in the Washington, D.C. area. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. 


The qualified candidate must have received a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the relevant fields. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:

  • Familiarity with the Clean Water Act and/or experience with water resources science and management
  • Experience with risk analysis and MS Office (including PowerPoint)
  • Technical and policy analysis skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to conduct assignments on multiple projects under tight deadlines